Former Memphis Tiger and NBA MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a two-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, according to sources. The deal is a fully guaranteed two-year, $6.5 million deal.
Memphis signed Rose to play a backup role and be the locker room leader of a developing young group. The Grizzlies looked to sign a small forward or backup point guard with the mid-level exception to fill the final roster spot.
Many Memphis fans remember Rose for his time at the University of Memphis, where he led the Tigers to a National Championship appearance. Rose was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the number one pick in 2008 and became the youngest MVP in league history at age 22.
His career was derailed by an ACL injury that would affect the trajectory of things. Since then, Rose has played for the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Pistons and Knicks.
It’s a true full-circle moment for Rose and Memphis fans as the 14-year veteran returns to town on a professional level. Rose averaged about five points, two rebounds and two assists in 27 games last year with the Knicks.
What it means for Memphis
Rose is expected to play off the bench as a backup behind Marcus Smart until Ja Morant returns from suspension. He will also serve as a veteran leader for the team, something Memphis sorely needed.
Steven Adams did a good job of being a leader for the young core, but the acquisition of Rose will boost the team’s mental growth as he has been in the league longer. Rose has been against some of the best players in the NBA like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and many others.
In the last three years, Memphis has been outdone by experience and leadership. The team hit a brick wall in the first round last year against the Los Angeles Lakers, who had two big veterans in Lebron James and Anthony Davis, arguably two of the best at their position.
Acquiring Derrick Rose also does wonders for Ja Morant, as many NBA fans see Morant as the most similar to Derrick Rose with his athleticism and ball handling. One can only imagine what the young guard will learn in the Rose game.
Morant could also get some much-needed guidance from Rose, as the veteran has struggled with issues off the court. Nothing to the extent Morant has done, but guidance is guidance, something we learned this week from Kendric Davis, who spoke with Morant about off-court issues.